Brigham is "playing a word game," Pinder said. "He hasn't been charged by the board because he's not licensed by the board. But there are criminal investigations going on. We've been in touch with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies."
Brigham, 54, whose two-decade career has been marked by legal and regulatory trouble, owns a Voorhees, N.J.-based chain of abortion clinics called American Women's Services.
Besides New Jersey and Maryland, the company has facilities in Virginia and, until a few months ago, Pennsylvania. Brigham transferred his four Pennsylvania clinics to a newly created company headed by a close relative when Pennsylvania limited his ownership rights for repeatedly employing unlicensed caregivers.
The latest trouble began in August, when an 18-year-old New Jersey woman who was 21 weeks pregnant suffered life-threatening injuries. She filed a complaint with Elkton, Md., police, triggering the ongoing investigations of Brigham and two doctors he employed there.
Authorities in Maryland and New Jersey allege that Brigham inserted rods to dilate patients' cervices, and gave drugs to kill their fetuses and induce labor, all in Voorhees. After leading patients in car caravans to Elkton, he allegedly performed or directed the surgeries to extract the fetuses - even though he has never had a Maryland medical license.
The bistate scheme enabled Brigham to do abortions "that cannot be legally performed" in Voorhees or his other New Jersey clinics because the facilities do not meet the state's safety regulations for outpatient surgery, according to charges filed by the New Jersey attorney general, who is seeking to suspend or revoke Brigham's license.
In papers responding to those charges, filed Tuesday with the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners in Trenton by lawyer Joseph M. Gorrell of Roseland, N.J., Brigham acknowledges that some patients were treated in both Voorhees and Elkton. He also concedes that his New Jersey clinics are not permitted to perform abortions beyond 14 weeks.
But he denies that he did anything illegal or negligent.
"The medical care provided was consistent with applicable standards of medical care," his response says.
Earlier this month, Brigham agreed to stop practicing medicine in New Jersey pending a hearing before the licensing board Oct. 13. But in his legal papers, he contends that taking his license, even temporarily, "would be contrary to previous orders and actions" of New Jersey's physician licensing board.
His reference is to a battle he waged with New Jersey authorities in the 1990s.
In 1993, New Jersey authorities accused him of malpractice and incompetence in six abortions, including one started in his Voorhees clinic and completed in a facility he ran in New York at the time. Prosecutors argued that Brigham's insertion of cervical dilators was tantamount to illegally doing a late-term abortion in Voorhees.
Brigham's license was stripped in New York, but in New Jersey, his license was restored after three years of appeals.
This time, the stakes are even higher.
Practicing medicine without a license in Maryland is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, as well as fines ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 for each violation, said Pinder of the physicians board.
"These egregious acts of going across state lines, I definitely want to see the powers that be deal with this," Pinder added.
Contact staff writer Marie McCullough at 215-854-2720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.